Big Island Sees Double-Digit Growth in Visitor Spending in First Three Quarters 2017

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Visitors in the first three quarters of 2017 spent a total of $12.56 billion in the Hawaiian Islands, an increase of 7.1% compared to the same period in 2016, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Total visitor arrivals rose 4.9% to 7,017,268 compared to a year ago, boosted by a 4.7% increase in arrivals by air and 23% increase in arrivals by cruise ships.

Hawai‘i’s four largest visitor markets, US West, US East, Japan, and Canada, all reported strong gains in visitor spending. Visitor arrivals from the four markets also increased from last year. In addition, daily spending by these visitors was higher than the first three quarters of 2016.

Visitor spending on Hawai‘i island increased 16.4% to $1.78 billion in the first nine months of 2017 and arrivals increased 13.5% to 1,316,865, exceeding the results from the same period last year.

In September, visitor spending on Hawai‘i increased 13.6% to $165.5 million, due to growth in total visitor days and a 7.1% increase in daily spending ($199 per person) versus last September. Visitor arrivals also increased on Hawai‘i by 7.7% to 119,938, supported by increased direct air service from the US and Japan.


Arrivals increased from all four major markets, Japan (27.1%), US West (11.4%), Canada (9.5%), and US East (4.2%) in September.

All four larger Hawaiian Islands realized growth in visitor spending and arrivals in the first nine months of 2017 compared to last year. The island of Hawai‘i saw double-digit growth in both visitor spending and arrivals, supported by increased direct air service from the US and Japan.

Through the first nine months of 2017, total air capacity to the Hawaiian Islands increased slightly (+0.8% to 9,165,745 seats) compared to the same period last year.

Through the first nine months of 2017, total meetings, conventions and incentives visitors dropped slightly (-0.6% to 374,709) compared to the same period in 2016. More visitors came to attend conventions (+1.5% to 185,974) and corporate meetings (+8.7% to 68,756) but fewer traveled on incentive trips (-8% to 132,144).


In the first nine months of 2017, the total number of honeymoon visitors declined (-2.2% to 409,653) versus the same period in 2016.

In the first three quarters of 2017, there were 75,998 visitors (-0.5%) who came to get married in Hawai‘i, down slightly from last year.

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, issued the following statement commenting on Hawai‘i’s visitor statistics results for the first nine months of 2017.

“The hard work by Hawai‘i’s tourism industry professionals has produced strong results in the first three quarters of this year and continues to contribute significantly to the health of the State’s economy. Spending from visitors has increased by 7.1% to more than $12.5 billion, which generated $1.47 billion in tax revenue for the State, a gain of $96.5 million over last year’s pace.


“The growth in visitor spending is broad-based with double-digit increases reported for Hawai‘i’s four major source markets, US West, US East, Japan and Canada. Accordingly, the economies of our four island counties are continuing to benefit, led by the island of Hawai‘i with a gain of 16.4% in visitor spending that is a direct result of the additional air access introduced this year.

“September featured key events important to Hawai‘i’s tourism future. Japan Airlines relaunched daily flights between Tokyo and Kona for the first time in seven years. The Global Tourism Summit brought together industry partners from Hawaii and around the world to develop new business opportunities.

“The L.A. Clippers came to Honolulu for training camp and two pre-season games as part of our sports marketing strategy for Hawai‘i. The Clippers generated excitement among the team’s global fan base and widespread attention in our single largest market, southern California. To me, the biggest highlight of all was seeing the Clippers Foundation giving back to our community by donating a new computer lab to the students of Stevenson Middle School in Honolulu. A former storage room was completely refurbished, air conditioned and installed with 30 state-of-the-art desktop computers.

“Hawai‘i tourism’s ongoing success is a credit to the aloha spirit, goodwill and professionalism that our industry partners extend to visitors who come from around the world to experience a place and culture unmatched anywhere else. Mahalo to all of tourism’s stakeholders for the continued support of our State’s leading industry.”

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